Then Board-chair Roewan Crowe leads the Board Retreat in 2004

In September 1983, Plug-In Art (now Plug-In ICA) formed a Women’s Committee to look at ways to promote and integrate women artists into the Winnipeg visual arts community.

In MAWA: Culture Of Community, founder Diane Whitehouse describes the context in which MAWA sprang to life: “At that time there was a great deal of discussion on the board, in the community and amongst the art school sessionals, who were mainly women, about the lack of opportunities for women artists. There was a perception that Plug-In was inaccessible to local women artists. And it seemed virtually impossible for women to secure tenured faculty positions at the School of Art. There were more women than men graduating from the art school, but somehow the women just seemed to disappear from the scene after graduation. The situation prompted the question: is this as good as it gets (for women)?”

The committee’s answer to that question was that it was not. They unveiled their response seven months later, on April 10, 1984, when they launched Manitoba Artists for Women’s Art or MAWA, a new Plug-In initiative designed to assist women artists in achieving their career aspirations.

The 2007 the Board Retreat and strategic planning.

MAWA became an independent organization in September of 1990, and was renamed Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art, because of our focus on fostering art in our community through mentorship.  Mentorship, as a non-hierarchical, peer-based system of learning, is key to passing information, experience and confidence down from one generation of women artists to another, strengthening both artists simultaneously.

Through the years, MAWA’s programming has provided invaluable opportunities for professional development and local and international networking. Please explore our website to see the range of programming opportunities currently available at MAWA.

In 2005 MAWA relocated to our beloved 611 Main Store-front space.

While some aspects of the artistic community have changed, MAWA’s raison d’être has remained constant: to support women artists at all levels. You can read more about MAWA’s history and our impact on the community by picking up our publication MAWA: Culture Of Community (2004).